by Justin Badger

Please find my piece for submission attached to this email. 

 A little more info about me & the doodles: My name is Justin. Just over 10 months ago I was diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). The diagnosis shed some light on a ton of behavior that I thought would forever get in the way of me feeling & behaving more "human". In an effort the keep the beast at bay, I have cooked up a cocktail of talk therapy, meditation, medication and this series of doodles. They are a visual record of my own experience with mental illness. I started making them public for no particular reason and attaching the hashtag: #thatmentalillnesslife. They tend to be a little on the ugly side of things. A little morose. 100% honest to my experience. It seems that folks have been finding them helpful. So, at the urging of a friend I figured I would share them with you.

The caption of this particular doodle is: Not pretty. Not inspirational. TOTALLY fine. #thatmentalillnesslife

I went into a little more detail than usual with this particular doodle. Here's my ramble underneath the caption:

Don't get me wrong, I know there's a place for the myriad soft, pastel-colored, inspirational #mentalhealthawareness memes out there. I am sure that they have become mantras and helped a ton of folks get through rough times. But (and this is the most soft and pastel-colored 'but' I can muster), the struggle is not always face-blasted to perfection. It can be ugly as hell. 

And that is totally fine.

For my money, the perpetuation of the "See? Everything is great and beautiful and YOU CAN TOO!" mindset can pull attention away from the fact that the struggle with #mentalillness gets a little dirty now and then. That mindset brings out this voice in me that screams, "But wait, here I am in the shit again with snot & tears running down my face, strained muscles in my neck, back & forearms from clenching every cell in my body so tight to keep it all in and all these people out in the world said that it would be beautiful. And fit. And Happy. And look at this sunset! What gives?" Even when you've gotten to the good place, that beast'll occasionally tap you on the shoulder and say, "Remember me, bish?" And that is totally fine. And #youarenotalone in that. 

So, bit of a diatribe, I know... but... meh... never mind: "YOU CAN TOO!"

You can follow me on instagram @badgerooni

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ArtSamantha Schutz